"You cannot go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - Vala Afshar, June 2020

Man looking out his window

Right now, we find ourselves singularly and collectively living through a period of change whose outcome none of us can confidently predict. The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown are events that have become huge catalysts for change, the likes of which we have not seen for generations.

Will things ever return to 'normal'? That's what we're all asking - habits have changed or been broken for us, and that has given many of us the space and time to think about the future and do a bit of soul searching. From a career point of view, there are certainly some deep questions to consider: Where am I going? What is my end goal? Have I just been going through the motions, conforming to a pattern because that's what everyone else was doing - just getting on or getting by?

Here's one positive thing about the lockdown: it's shown us that other ways are possible and that not everything is predetermined. We are allowed to think differently now, and where you go from this point in your life - and your career - depends on you and your decisions as an individual.

How we learn new skills is crucial, and the speed of change in learning has been breathtaking. Universities are under threat because people are now wondering if there's something better and less expensive they could be doing to progress their careers. What are my other options, you might ask, and are traditional institutions really worth the price tag?

As an aside and by way of an example, school teaching - while undoubtedly an indispensable profession - is having to dramatically rethink its approach. Other viable ways of educating have emerged in recent months; online learning has become the new norm in some areas, with the benefits now outweighing the negatives for many. It's another example of the 'interruption of the established ways of doing things' that can have unintended consequences and lead to better solutions that focus on the outcomes or the 'goal' first and foremost.

Access Training Academies' online learning portal is a result of challenging 'the norm' and a reflection of this period of change.

There are even more drastic changes that have grown beyond all expectations. The way we consume goods and services has altered dramatically and will affect our economic model forever; with it, the jobs and careers that many are currently pursuing will change or may be negatively affected. We are clearly seeing the entertainment and hospitality sectors being badly affected, and retailers are suffering from a lack of footfall in shopping centres and high streets due to a surge in online shopping. Is this a new 'normal'? People are certainly now thinking of where to go with their careers and what their aspirations are.

Above all, everyone will want job security and to be at ease with their future prospects, as the current uncertainty has affected every part of our lives and the wider economy. LinkedIn, the social network that focuses on professional networking and career development, last week published a Workforce Confidence report showing how confident UK professionals are feeling about their job security, financial wellbeing and career prospects.

LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Report

Source: LinkedIn

"The latest data shows professionals working in the Construction and Software & IT Services industries are feeling most confident, with a score of 24, followed by Healthcare (21), Finance (18) and Manufacturing (18). Several industries were found to have a score of below 10, with Nonprofits feeling the least confident, with a score of 0, followed by Recreation & Travel (4) and Retail (6)."

The construction industry is one of two sectors with the highest level of confidence reported; job security could be high for the next few decades. The recent announcement by the UK Government regarding huge infrastructure investment means the future is bright in this sector.

The sheer volume of available construction work has increased and will continue to increase a great deal over the short, medium and long term, with lots of work required in terms of erecting buildings and modern infrastructure. Furthermore, older buildings will continue needing to be restored or refurbished, so there should be no shortage of work for tradespeople. New, sustainable practices have brought about the need for a greater volume of hi-tech construction projects, which will of course continue to require a steady supply of workers over the coming years.

The COVID-19 lockdown has not been a positive experience overall, but if there's a silver lining, it's that the lockdown has given many of us the chance to wonder where we are going and why. Maintaining a constant level of happiness throughout our lives is paramount; despite events that are out of our control, we all continually work to maintain that certain level of happiness. Making changes - such as shifting our values, our attention and our goals - allows us to be alert to our situation, and having a stable, rewarding and fulfilling career is central to that. A career in construction could be the solution for you.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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Photo from Pexels

Work is running dry in some sectors, but the UK's trade skills shortage could be your opportunity to bounce back.

A striking headline in the 19th July edition of The Sunday Times reads: "Work's running dry as 484 people apply for two precious pub vacancies".

Pint of beer in pub

This is followed by another startling stat: "£9-an-hour post triggers a stampede of highly qualified applicants".

But the numbers aren't the only noteworthy part of this story. Just as remarkable were the types of applicants one bar owner was hearing from before he pulled his job advert after only five days.

The Sunday Times article reported that former air stewards, restaurant managers and experienced shop workers - all recently made redundant - were among the hundreds of applicants, whereas normally pub and restaurant owners would expect to receive a dozen or so replies from youngsters with limited experience.

Up and down the country, the story is the same: employers are reporting a stampede of applications for entry-level roles that they would normally struggle to fill. One manager said:

"The quality of people looking for work right now is as good as it ever has been. Unfortunately it's because of the situation people have found themselves in."

Worringly, this could just be the tip of the iceberg - the government's furlough scheme may be giving many workers a false sense of normality right now, but according to some reports, a larger wave of unemployment could hit the UK very soon.

But ask yourself: do you need to take a backward step if this happens to you? Or could this be your opportunity to train for a different career - something you'll find truly rewarding?

 

Learn new career skills with Access Training Academies

Losing your job can be a scarring experience, but before you join the throng of people currently applying for entry-level work in bars and pubs, ask yourself: wouldn't it be more fulfilling to retrain and join an industry that's currently crying out for new workers?

In all likelihood, you've amassed considerable transferable life skills over the years, so why not make the change and become a professional tradesperson? Most think it's a bridge too far - that it's somehow beyond them, an unknown area of employment - but others see the opportunity in front of them and never look back.

The decision to change career is already being forced on many people. Will you seize the moment, discover your entrepreneurial spirit, use your life experience to your advantage, and start something new and rewarding?

"I did a course with these guys [Access Training Academies]...since I passed last year, I decided to go on my own. The phone hasn't stopped ringing since, and I'm at the point now where I have employed two extra guys."

- James Mummery, Professional Electrical Course

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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Photo from Pixabay

Late last week, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the government would drop a Tony Blair-era target of 50% of young people going to university.

In a speech that stressed the need for more vocational training, Williamson said that Britain's education system was guilty of ignoring the "forgotten 50% who choose another path", referring to those who didn't go to university.

Fork in the road leading in two directions

Photo from Pixabay

He also described the need for a major overhaul of this country's approach to training, including courses in the trades and construction where skills shortages continue to occur. The UK is currently in desperate need of plumbers, electricians, gas engineers and carpenters, and many people would prefer to learn these useful skills than go to university for a degree they may not even use.

 

"Education can open the door to better prospects and transform lives," said Williamson.

With reference to those who felt passed over, the Education Secretary said: "I don't accept this absurd mantra, that if you are not part of the 50% of young people who go to university that you've somehow come up short. You have become one of the forgotten 50% who choose another path."

If you are one of those who was forgotten during the past 20 years, we at Access Training are here to help you get the professional qualifications and training you deserve, for the career you've always wanted. Talk to us about our courses that, even during this difficult period, have produced thousands of qualified tradespeople - despite the prevailing narrative that university education is the only route to a successful ​career. This way of thinking is plainly wrong, as evidenced by all the success stories our training courses have produced.

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Mr Williamson continued: "It exasperates me that there is still an in-built snobbishness about 'higher' being somehow better than 'further', when really they are just different paths to fulfilling and skilled employment."

This university target was described as being a target for the sake of a target, not one with any special purpose. Training should always focus on working towards high-quality qualifications and meeting the requirements set by employers. This is what Access Training Academies have successfully been providing for adult students for the past 13 years.

Adult career changers need a high-quality set of choices, with a clear line of sight to the career they want, at any stage of life should they want to pursue it.

"University should never have been regarded as the silver bullet for everyone and everything," said Williamson. We at Access Training wholeheartedly agree. There are so many opportunities for adult learners to get into the trades; they just need the right bespoke course to help them achieve this.

In short, there is a need for a revolution, and change is long overdue. Education's purpose is to unlock an individual's potential so that they can get the job they want. "If it fails to do that, then education itself has let them down," said Williamson. "Today, I have laid down a marker for change. A commitment to stand for the forgotten 50%."

If you didn't go to university, or if your choices for a new career seem limited, contact Access Training and we will help you to find a pathway to a successful career within the trade of your choosing.

Browse Our Trade Courses

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Calculating earnings

Every year, a survey is conducted to find out which trade is the best paid in the industry... a statistic we eagerly look forward to sharing with you.

The results are in for 2019 and yet again the sparkies have taken the financial lead. For not one, not two, but FIVE years running, electricians have been earning the most money of all trades. In 2019, the average salary rose to £33,176 per annum - that's a 2.7% increase compared to 2018!

Why not consider one of our Electrical Courses for a bright start to the new decade?

Browse Our Electrical Courses >

What about the other trades?

Don't worry - it's not just electricians who saw an average pay rise in 2019. Plumbers, plasters, bricklayers and roofers all saw a wage increase between 1 and 10 per cent!

  • Plasterers saw an average wage increase of 9%
  • Plumbers saw an average wage increase of 1%
  • Bricklayers saw an average wage increase of 4.6%

Browse Plastering Courses >         Browse Plumbing Courses >

Where do these statistics come from?

You're probably wondering... how accurate are these numbers? Are they representative of the whole workforce?

Well, these numbers are recorded by the Office of National Statistics. They take the median wage in each individual industry to establish a fair average. This means the small percentage of exceptionally high earners don't skew the data.

To put this in context: exactly 50% of electricians in the UK earn below £33,176 and 50% earn more!

Is it realistic to think you'll earn a high wage straight away?

As you may expect, these average salaries aren't necessarily representative of entry-level wages, so it's unlikely you'll earn over £30k at the very beginning of your electrical career, for example.

That being said, these comfortable salaries are fairly accurate for self-employed tradespeople. Why? Because once you have the qualifications, experience and confidence under your belt, you can decide on a daily/hourly rate that suits your monetary expectations.

What's the key to earning more?

Increasing your earning potential is simpler than you may think. With determination, some hard work and a bit of self-investment, you can go from earning a trainee wage of around £12 - £14 per hour to earning a qualified tradesperson or site technician's wage of up to £20 per hour! Here's how...

1. Apply for agency work

Agency work is a great option if you are starting out in a new trade. It will give you the chance to gain some very basic knowledge and experience before considering further training.

2. Work overtime

If you are already working in your desired trade, why not ask your boss if you can work some overtime? This is a great way to increase your earnings short-term and boost your earning potential.

3. Gain new qualifications

We can't stress enough how important refreshing your qualifications is if you want to improve your earning potential in a particular trade. We offer a range of different courses for beginners and established tradespeople alike, allowing you to offer a better, more comprehensive service to your clients and command a higher salary! Whether you're keeping your knowledge up-to-date or learning a completely new trade, you'll find it easier to earn more money when you develop your skillset.

4. Start your own business

Becoming a self-employed tradesperson really does put the reigns (and money) in your hands. When you become your own boss, you can choose exactly how much you want to contract your services out for. An average hourly rate for an electrician is £45-£70 per hour, giving you plenty of room to adjust your profit margins to suit your business goals.

Browse Our Training Courses Now >

 

Starting Your Own Business - Case Study:

So you want to earn more money - who doesn't? Find out how we can help you achieve your monetary goals by taking a look at this incredible success story!

These two students, Peter and Omar, were working in completely different professions before they decided to learn a trade at Access Training Academies. Since completing their courses, they've set up their own independent plumbing and gas businesses. You can see our full interview with them here:

For more information on learning a trade at Access Training Academies, get in touch now! Call us on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online.

Contact Us >

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are helping people to retrain for new careers in the trades. Our courses combine live online learning with hands-on skills training - browse our trade courses here! 

According to figures recently released by Direct Line, plumbing and electrical issues are the two primary headaches commonly faced by buy to let landlords across the UK.

While the diagnosis is far from surprising, the extent of the problem is certainly shocking, racking up sizeable bills nationwide.

 

house flood

 

Landlord SOS

According to Direct Line’s statistics, over half of UK landlords have had to enlist the aid of an emergency contractor in the last 12 months.

In fact, on average, landlords in the UK are said to have called out a contractor once every three months, amounting to 4.7 million landlord SOS calls a year.

The most common emergencies relating to these calls were all plumbing related, closely followed by electrical/gas supply issues and water problems.

Plumbing issues, in particular, accounted for 365k rental homes being evacuated, with electrical/gas supply racking up 293k evacuations and water issues relating to 267k.

 

A Hefty Bill

While buy to let properties have proved to be a savvy investment for many property owners, the subsequent maintenance issues have seen the need for emergency contractors impede those profit margins considerably.

Overall, Direct Line noted that Britain’s landlords have had to shell out a collective £4.5 billion on emergency contractors over the course of the last year. Statistically speaking, that equates to an average sum of £764 per call out and £2141/year per landlord.

 

Every Cloud...

Naturally, the figures paint a rather devastating picture for landlords and anyone looking to enter the buy to let property market. However, for those in the plumbing and electrical trades, the news is anything but that.

The demand for top-quality plumbers and highly skilled electricians remains strong in the UK, as the national skills shortage in this area continues. The result is healthy profits, a steady stream of work and a reliable income for those in the trade and attractive career prospects for those thinking of making the jump.

  

Plumbing Courses and Electrician Courses

At Access Training UK, we have a wide variety of courses on offer for potential plumbers and would-be electricians. These range from entry-level courses for complete novices with no prior experience all the way up to NVQ Level 2 Certification and PAT Testing courses.

Whether you’re looking to enter the electrical trade, build on your existing plumbing skills or anything in between, an Access Training course can help you get where you want to be quickly, efficiently and affordably.

Check out the buttons below to find out more right now and begin your skills journey today.

Plumbing Courses                    Electrician Courses

 

For additional details on the various plumbing and electrician courses available at Access Training UK, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 345 7492 to speak with one of our expert advisors or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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